Planning for your future health and personal care years
What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning can help you to have a say in what type of care you receive in the future. It helps others understand your values, beliefs and preferences for when you are no longer able to make or communicate decisions about your health and personal care. Advance care planning can start at any age. It is best started when you are feeling well and able to make decisions.
Why is advance care planning important?
Advance care planning can give you peace of mind by knowing that others understand your wishes in case a time comes when you are no longer able to tell them what is important to you.
It can also make it easier for your family, friends and health professionals who may care for you in the future.
Families and friends of those who take part in advance care planning say they feel less stressed and are happier with the care their loved one received.
Advance care planning is an ongoing process and involves 4 key elements:
You can move between these elements and change your choices to suit changes in your personal situation, health or lifestyle.
Your advance care planning process will be guided by you and your beliefs, values and preferences.
Spend time gathering your thoughts and thinking about what ‘living well’ means to you. What worries you when you think about your future health? Are there any medical treatments that you would not want?
Talk to your loved ones about your values and beliefs, and the care you would like when you are unwell. Discuss your health concerns and options for future care with your health professionals.
When you have thought about what is important to you and talked with others,
it is a good idea to write this down.
Thinking about what types of decisions and thoughts you want to share will help you decide which document(s) could be useful. Some advance care planning documents for you to use are:
- Values and Preferences Form: Planning for my future care is a statement of your values, preferences and wishes in relation to your future health and care.
- Advance Health Directive (also called an AHD) is a legal document used to record of your decisions about the medical treatment you want or do not want to receive if you become very unwell or injured.
- Enduring Power of Guardianship (also called an EPG) is a legal document used to appoint someone to make important personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions for you when you cannot.
It is important to let the people close to you know where to find your advance care planning documents. Store the original in a safe place. Upload a copy to My Health Record so health professionals can access the information. You can also share copies with:
- family, friends and carers
- enduring guardian(s) (EPG)
- enduring power(s) of attorney (EPA)
- health professionals and specialists (e.g. GP)
- residential aged care facility
- local hospital
- legal professional.
For more information
Department of Health WA
Advance Care Planning Information Line
General queries and to order free advance care planning resources
Phone: 9222 2300